To Rudy or not to Rudy…

The Bulls still have about $3 million to spend and one more roster spot to fill.

Rumor had it the team was taking long, hard looks at both Eddie House and Roger Mason. Unfortunately, House was signed by the Evil Empire Miami Heat and Mason has been picked up by the New York Knicks. Who does that leave?

Keith Bogans? Gak.

Tracy McGrady? Double gak.

I’d rather see the Bulls bring back Flip Murray than sign either of those guys. In fact, I’d rather see the entire team develop incurable skin fungus than sign “Knee-Mac.” I’m just sayin’.

Perhaps it’s important to get a little insight into what management is looking for. In an appearance on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said: “…we feel we have to add more shooting. So right now, that’s what we’re putting a premium on.”

More shooting, eh? As I’ve mentioned before, McGrady is a career 33.7 percent three-point shooter. So even if he didn’t need a really good sports psychologist, I doubt he really fits that particular bill.

You know, the Portland Trail Blazers are still dangling Rudy Fernandez out there. And it appears he wants to come East. Conference-wise, that is.

According to Ben Q. Rock of SB Nation Chicago, Madrid-based sportswriter Francisco Rabadan tweeted the following (translated from Spanish by Mr. Rock): “I spoke with Rudy this morning. He doesn’t know anything about his possible trade to Chicago, but he gave me a clue: ‘the East seems very attractive to me.'”

Could the Bulls get him? I don’t know. If they could secure the rights to Fernandez for James Johnson and a first round draft pick, I’d give Gar Forman a big old thumbs up. But that’s about the only deal that a) both sides might reasonably agree on and b) I would be okay with. (I definitely wouldn’t be happy with giving up Taj Gibson for Rudy.)

A better question might be: Would Rudy be a good fit for the Bulls?

Well, if the team wants a shooter, they’d be getting one. During his rookie season (2008-09), Fernandez shot 39 percent from beyond the arc. During the final eight games of that campaign, he went 20-for-39 (50.9 percent).

Last season, his three-point percentage dropped to a shade under 37 percent as he struggled to adjust to his role on the team and a slight decline in his minutes per game. But he still had hot stretches, like a six-game span in early March when he went 5-for-10, 4-for-4, 1-for-3, 4-for-6, 3-for-5 and 3-for-5.

Look, the kid can shoot the three. That’s not the problem.

One potential issue is his inaccuracy from inside the arc. According to Hoopdata, Rudy shot 26.9 percent from 10-15 feet and 25.0 percent from 16-23 feet during the 2009-10 season. Those numbers weren’t much better in 2008-09: 23.0 and 29.0 percent, respectively.

 Yikes. Rudy has a midrange game that would make Tyrus Thomas cringe. Not a good sign.

Shooting aside, Fernandez is pretty decent off the ball. According to ESPN’s John Hollinger: “Fernandez is outstanding moving without the ball in general, reminiscent of a Reggie Miller or Richard Hamilton, and he draws a lot of fouls this way. Off the catch, he primarily looks to shoot immediately. He’ll pass and cut if the shot isn’t there, but every so often he’ll get a wild hair and try a daring, creative and impossible pass that either ends up in Row 17 or starts a 3-on-1 the other way.”

Hmm. That “wild hair” Hollinger mentioned worries me. So does the fact that he became unhappy so quickly in Portland. Fernandez was on a winning team playing alongside character guys like Brandon Roy. That’s not exactly the Ninth Level of Hell.

I mean, would things be much different for Fernandez on the Bulls? Look at Chicago’s roster: Derrick Rose, C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Luol Deng, James Johnson, Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, Kurt Thomas and Omer Asik.

That’s a pretty deep team. How many minutes would Fernandez get in a backcourt that includes Rose, Watson, Brewer and (probably at times) Korver? Last season, Rudy became “disgruntled” playing 23 minutes a game (down from 25 the previous season). How many minutes would he see on the Bulls?

I can’t see him earning many more than he got with the Blazers. Especially considering his notorious weakness on the defensive end. Here’s what Hollinger had to say about Rudy’s D going into the 2009-10 season: “Defensively, Fernandez’s lack of strength means the Blazers have to monitor his matchups carefully. … Fernandez does fine as long as he covers quick guys or non-scorers, but big wings steamroll him.”

To underscore that assessment, Fernandez compiled a Defensive Rating of 107 during the  regular season and a staggering 123 during the playoffs. By the way, those numbers represent the number of points he was giving up per 100 possessions.

I’m not sure a defensive-minded coach like Thibodeau would be cool with that.

Look, Rudy is a wicked athlete who can drill threes and generate highlight reel-type plays. However, he isn’t a great ball handler, tends not to make aggressive moves toward the basket, has no midrange game and gets stuck in “shoot first” mode. What’s more, he just soured in only two years of being in a great system.

Still, Rudy has the proven skills (three-point shooting mostly) and potential (which seems limited only by his mind) to justify ditching Johnson and giving up a draft pick. But anything more than that? I don’t think so.

56 Responses to To Rudy or not to Rudy…

    Savage August 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    Steve, I agree with you on that one all the way. We should have signed Stackhouse rather than Bogans in my opinion. Not sure what the cost difference would have been but I would much rather see Stack on our roster.

    Joe, I don’t mean to be argumentative with you. I respect your opinion I just disagree with it a bit. Seasons coming up and I don’t know about you but I can’t wait!

    luvabullnj August 9, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    Ho Hum. Not too crazy about the Bogans signing at first. There are too many fans out there that are looking at Bogans as a 12th man and therefore okay with it. Bogans is the 12th man added to the roster, but he is not the 12th man in the rotation. I see him as the NINTH man in the rotation ahead of Thomas, JJ and Asik. In no particular order Taj, Korver and Watson are the 6th, 7th and 8th men off the bench.

    That said, on second look I’m satisfied with the Bogans signing as it balances out the second unit. So we have good balance on both the starting and the second unit. With Rose, Boozer and Deng carrying the offensive load with Noah and Brewer providing the defensive balance on the starting unit. On the second unit, we have Watson and Korver providing the offensive punch while Taj and Bogans provide the defensive balance. I see JJ, Thomas and Asik getting minutes only in blowouts and/or foul trouble situations, at least early in the season. Hopefully Asik and JJ develop enough to become productive as the season progresses.

    As far as depth is concerned, on paper we appear to be deeper in the front court and not as deep at the guard spots until you realize that Asik and Thomas (I’m expecting a big drop off in Thomas’ production) are not rotation players. Thomas’ minutes and production have declined precipitously since the 05-06 season when he left the Knicks. So the Bulls PF/C rotation is only three deep with Boozer, Noah and Gibson. With Deng occasionally at the PF in a small lineup as he did last year. Deng and Korver at SF with Brewer and Bogans covering in case of injuries. At the guard spots the Bulls are five deep with Rose and Brewer starting and Watson and Bogans on the second unit with Korver filling in at SG depending on match ups.

    Thus with the versatility of the Bulls roster, we are three or four deep and solid at the PF, SF and SG spots. But only two deep at PG (Rose, Watson) and only one deep at C (Noah, and not ready for prime time Asik). I would also like to see JJ get another full year to develop before the Bulls give up on him, after all, they gave Tyrus almost four. I am still hoping that JJ could turn into a point/forward which would give us some added depth at the PG.

    There you have it. This is why as presently constructed, the Bulls need to add another Big Man more than another PG at the 13th roster spot.

    Sam Smith 😉

    Matt Steigenga August 10, 2010 at 5:22 am #

    I wouldn;t mind signing STackhouse becaue he is almost like a McGrady where if he could accept a bench role at this PT in his career then he could be very valuable. ANd Stack has been an NBA 6th man of the yr winner just 4 yrs ago so I think he would embrace a bench role. I wish TMAC would have as well because although he is not the old TMAC he can still give you a big game 2 out of 10 games which would be fine with me because the stars of the team like Rose and Boozer will need that relief once in a while. I do not see Bogans giving any big games, maybe 1 out of 23.

    Also back to the 72-10 Bulls record staying safe, if anything I would be more worried about the Lakers breaking it than Miami (which neither will, Im just saying Lakers have better shot). Lakers have a coach that was the coach of the 72 win Bulls, they have the closest thing to MJ, deeper team than Miami, and they also play in the West and this yr the West will be weaker than the much improved East. But that being said I see no worries guys. Since 2005 it has seemed like there has been a team that jumped out to a great record. The Pistons in 05-06 started like 35-4 and the Celts in 08-09 started 27-2, but ultimately the grind of the season got to them. Here’s the deal guys, to go greater than 72-10 a team would have to go 9-1 every ten games and I just don;t see that happening. Yeah you could say well some ten game stretches LA or Miami will go 10-0 to make up for some 7-3, 8-2 spurts, but realistically the season evens itself out. ANd the 33 game win streak (72 lakers did that) ain;t happening. ROckets came close in 07-08 with like a 23 game win streak but that was a fluke. Even the 72 win Bulls won like 29 out of 30 but again they had that ONE LOSS in the middle of that stretch.

    In conclusion, if you add up the playoffs the 1995-96 Bulls where 87-13 overall. So lets say Miami or LA where to go 73-9, but lose 5 games in the playoffs giving them playoff record 16-5, and a 89-14 record overall, that is a worse win PCT. than 87-13. So again the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls will always go down as the greatest team ever.

    Kassandra August 10, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    as a portlander through and through, i can offer you all some points which might clarify things.

    1. the blazers are not asking for a player and a draft pick in place of Rudy. for the most part, recouping a first-rounder in exchange for Rudy (a first rounder) would be sufficient.

    2. with all the defensive analyis i read, the blazers allowed the fewest points in the western conference last season, and the third fewest in the league.

    3. what is making Rudy disgruntled is the lack of playing time. three years ago, he was the Brandon Roy of his team. with the blazers, he’s Brandon’s backup with no sign of that changing any time soon. that’s very bothersome to him. if the bulls haven’t the minutes to give him, then he likely would not be happy with the trade.

    anyway, thought i’d add that to you.


    ~ Kassandra

    inkybreath August 11, 2010 at 1:08 am #

    They are going to lose games while figuring each other out in real speed, even if they are a handful. That alone will crush any hope of reaching that goal this year.

    Going forward, they are dangerous to the record. There is a real possibility that they have blast playing with each other and other free agents to come see that and really want to be a part of it. It could get ugly.

    (wade = mj, james = pippen, bosh = grant, miller = kukoc & Ilgauskas = Cartwright?)

    I really don’t see it happening that way. Friends don’t make great roommates, in my experience. They may feel like it would be fun and successful, but once the stakes are real – anything can happen (especially when you have an agent in your ear, getting itchy for more money).

    They are really on the same arc as the Bulls, in terms of championship success – two to three years.

  6. Matt Steigenga August 14, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    miller = kukoc

    Okay I almost fell out of my seat laughing there when you said that. Kukoc of 1995-96 at 5% is better than Miller at 100%. Heck Bosh does not have Grant or ROdman’s toguness and Cartwright is still better than a 40 yr old Big Z (however old that old fart is). Yes maybe in a couple of yrs or so I will be more worried about Heat contending for our 72-10 record as they will have more yrs playing together and I could see some other better talent to surround them than what they have for 2010-11, but I think in the end 72-10 will be #1 forever.

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